Sindollu

Sindu or Chindu is an ancient form of dance-drama protected and kept alive by Madiga community of Andhra Pradesh.

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Abstract

Maha Adi community more popularly know as Madiga in Andhra Pradesh appears to be a society on its own rather than a caste. They kept alive ancient forms of art since eons. They claim ancestry from Jamba Maha Rhishi and Tilottama an Appsara. Arundhati the wife of Sage Vasisht belongs to Madiga community. Matangi the high priestess of Madiga community is worshipped as Meenakshi at Madurai temple. Apparently Madiga community evolved from hunters and gathers to the initiators of agriculture that kick started Sindu (Indus) Valley Civilization.

The word Sindollu is a compound one which is Sindu + Vallu which in Telugu means the people of Sindu. Sindollu are also called as Chindollu. Chindu is actually a dance drama form. Chindu if aggressive is like Tandavam of Siva.
 
Chindu is a sub caste of Madiga community which is a Dalit caste today. They claim ancestry to Jamba Maharishi and Tilottama the Apsarasa. Chindu, Dekkali, Baindla, Sangadi, Masteenu and Nulaka Chandaiah are other sub castes under the patronage of Madiga community. These artists use primitive percussion [Dakka] and string [Metla Kinnera] musical instruments that might be bi products of hunting and gathering activity for Dakka is made of animal skin and Metla Kinnera is probably derived from bow. Mutyam and Venkanna suggest 1 that the art forms Dekkali and Chindu were separated as a conspiracy to weaken the art form and the Madiga community. Chindu and other Madiga art forms are the origin of all other art forms of India.
 
Significantly one of the main characters of Chindu dance drama is Yellamma. Yellamma is a village Goddess worshiped by all communities in the contemporary rural India except probably the Arshya Brahmins. It is significant to note that Yella, Polamu, Polimera all have the same meaning the outer limit of a village or a farm. Amma means mother. Thus Yellamma [Yella + Amma], Polamma [Poli + Amma] or Poleramma [Polimera + Amma] have the same meaning. Probably they are the protectors of agricultural farm lands of the matrilineal tribal societies who initiated/ invented domestication of plants that is agriculture. Sindu artists praise Yellamma as an equivalent of a tiger 2 or as powerful as tiger. This reminds us of a figurine of Harappa where a women is depicted as handling two tigers. That woman might be same as Yellamma or Poleramma with yet another title Singalamma or Singla Jee or Hinglaz Mata [Indo Iranians pronounce Sa as Ha which may be noted from Sindhu becoming Hindu] which is Sherowaliye in its Aryanised version. Another striking thing is Ari in Telugu has the same meaning as that of Yella and Ari + Ayya becomes Arya the male version of Yellamma. The replacement of Yellamma by Arya may be the indication of transition of society from matrilineal to patrilineal. Potu Raju plays the role of pacifier of Yellama in the enactment of the chindu drama. The Aryanised version of Potu Raju is literally Pashu Pati!
 
While narrating the Jamba Puranam significant resentment is expressed by Sindollu against Arshya Brahmins. They remind us that Vasishta the Arshya Brahmin Rishi marrying Arundhati a woman of Madiga clan and the only one with undisturbed chastity among the wives of Sapta Rishis [seven sages].
 
Sindu artists visit Viswa Brahmin of the village and worship the furnace before they start the drama. The logic here is the expression of the thankfulness to Viswa Brahmins for making the Kongavali sword the weapon for Yellamma. Madigas in turn gave bellows to Viswa Brahmins they believe. In the Jamba Puranam Jamba Rishi declares 3 that Viswa Brahmins are the real Brahmins. The instruments used by Kamsali, Vadla, Kammari, Kanchari, Silpi known as Pancha Brahmalu [five creators] are given by Jamba Rishi.
 
The name Sindollu, their relation with Tilottama and Jamba Rishi and their worship of Yellamma the Goddess who protects the agricultural farms suggest that these people are related to Sindhu [Indus] civilization who might have evolved from hunters and gatherers to agrarian matrilineal society and this is further corroborated by their relation with Viswa Brahmins who are well versed in metal working and metallurgy. It is well known that Indus Valley Civilization progressed from agriculture to ceramics and metallurgy and the initiators were Dravidian speaking people. Thus Madiga might be Maha Adiga meaning since the great beginning, the great beginning of Indus Valley Civilization.  The worship of Yellamma [Poleramma with six sisters] and Potu Raju may be related to the seven sister deities of Harappan figurine and the figurine of proto Siva/ Pashu Pati/ Potu Raju.
 
Matangi is the high priestess of the Madiga community. Aryans sanskritised 4 Matangi as  Mahavidya the pattern of inner thought and speech and worshiped as Meenakshi at Madurai. Alas at the ground level the position of Matangi was degraded to that of a prostitute as Madigas lost power. Nevertheless Matangi the High Priestess is the proof of respect of Madiga community and Native Hindus to women hood which may be appreciated comparing with Sati practice of Aryan Hindus. Apparently Madiga is a society in itself rather than a caste and Madiga ensured the survival of their culture over centuries despite their own sufferings and poverty.
 
A question should worry all researchers as to why Brahma Rishi Vasisth would marry Arundhati ? Unless she was the matrilineal head [princes] of a clan of Maha Adi [Madiga] people of Indus Valley Civilization?
 
 
References
[1] Mutyam, K and Venkanna, Kasthinche prajalu- bhoomi vanarulato kala roopala kunna sambamdham,  chindula yellamma yaadi, Ed. Mutyam,k and Venkanna, published by Dristhi, Hyderabad, 2006.
[2] Chindula Yallamma, ma jamba puranam- yellamma panduga, nenu chindula yellammanu , compiled and edited by Mutyam, K, published by Dristhi, Hyderabad, 2006.
[3] Laxmaiah, M, atma gowrava prakatana- jamba puranam, in [1]

 

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